2016 Anna Snoekstra Author Interviews Blog Tours HQ stories Mira
Blog Tour: Only Daughter - Author Interview with Anna Snoekstra
Only Daughter, today with HQ Stories and to celebrate, she has stopped by to answerall my bookish questions! Have a look:
Hi Anna and welcome to Alba in Bookland. First, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me.
I’m an Australian writer living in Melbourne with my husband, two housemates and tabby cat. I was born in Canberra, and moved here about ten years ago. I studied Screenwriting originally and spent years making short films, music videos and writing feature-length scripts. It was a great experience to be able to write something and then see it come to life! A few years ago I decided to try my hand at novel writing and have since fallen in love with it.
Last year was a life changing for me, with my novel being accepted by a publisher and the option for a film adaptation being taken. I also eloped to Nashville with my boyfriend where we got hitched!
Your debut novel, Only Daughter, is about a girl who disappears and a woman who returns, many years later, claiming to be that girl. What sparked this idea?
I was fascinated with the idea of imposters after seeing the Ingrid Bergman film Anastasia, about a woman who pretends to be the long-missing royal Anastasia Nikolaevna. After a bit of research I was surprised that the impersonation of missing persons has happened countless times throughout history. Martin Guerre in 16th century France, Walter Collins in Seattle in the 1920s. Even more recently is Nicholas Barclay in 1990s Texas.
I spoke to an Australian Missing Persons Detective about her experiences, as well as how this would scenario would play out now which was fascinating.
In some ways I think everyone plays different parts for different people. Maybe you are sassier with your friends, sweeter with your mother. I wanted to take this idea to it’s absolute extreme. I find the idea of becoming someone else captivating and was really interested in the way a person could play tourist in someone else’s life.
The ending took me completely by surprise. Did you have it planned since the beginning or did you start writing and just let the characters play?
A little bit of both. I have the big events planned out, but I try and let my characters find their way there organically. I let them react to the events organically, and sometimes that changes the way the story turns out. Character is always more important than plot for me.
I really believe in the subconscious part of writing, and I try and embrace that. I think that if you plan things out too much, the story can loose some of it’s heart.
This is the first book I've read set in Canberra, why did you choose it as your setting? Could this story happen anywhere or does the setting play a key role in it?
Canberra is a very small and new city, with bush pressed up against modern buildings. It’s the kind of place where it isn’t uncommon to see kangaroos hoping down the streets of the sprawling suburbs. I grew up in Canberra, and I was a teenager when the bushfires that swept through the city in 2003. These events are vividly etched in my memory. Setting Bec’s story during this time made her feel even more real to me. The fires got very close to my house and we had to evacuate. It affected everyone I knew and a lot of people lost their houses.
In some ways I guess the bare bones of this situation could happen anywhere, but for me the city and this story are inextricably linked.
What do you expect your readers to feel while reading Only Daughter?
I believe that you need to weight darkness with light. I really wanted the story to have a sense of fun, to avoid it becoming relentless in its more frightening themes. So I hope readers will feel the joy of the book as well as the horror.
Only Daughter has all the ingredients of the perfect Psychological Thriller: tense and fast-paced with unexpected twists and unreliable characters. Could you tell our readers what else this book has that makes it stand apart from the crowd?
I think it’s that sense of joy. Readers are invited into the beautiful, unblemished friendship of Lizzie and Bec. They are allowed to remember the joy of your first crush, or the pleasure of that first kiss with someone you think is amazing. They are able to see the other side of the counter at McDonald’s, where camaraderie is everything and your colleagues are your family. Where the summer feels endless and the days are long and friendship is everything.
Why did you decide to start writing thrillers?
When I was a kid I was never allowed to watch anything scary. I would sometimes get up in the middle of the night and watch thrillers on the foreign language channel with the sound off, just reading the subtitles. I think I was always slightly fascinated with darker stories, partly because they were forbidden!
I also believe that thrillers are a good medium to discuss some real-world issues that are hard to talk about directly. I definitely funnel my fears and anxieties into my work. It can be very cathartic.
I've read that Only Daughter is being published in several countries and Hollywood has shown interest in it. How are you feeling about it all?
I couldn’t be more excited. It’s amazing that people are connecting to this story, which feels so personal to me. I’m still getting my head around the idea that people are reading it, especially in different countries to Australia. It’s fantastic!
Which authors have inspired you to become a writer yourself?
When I was thirteen I was strangely obsessed with Mary Shelley. I found Frankenstein hard to read at that age, but I loved the story behind it. I thought it was so inspiring how she described the summer she wrote it as “when I first stepped from childhood into life.” I think I also liked how she surprised everyone with how fantastic, and how dark, her story was.
And finally, what can we expect from you next?
At the moment I am in the midst of the process of editing my second novel, Dolls. It’s about a young woman who desperately wants to be a journalist and how far she’ll go to get a story.
It’s about ambition, and societal notions of success. It will be out around this time next year!
Thanks so much Anna for stopping by and answering all my questions! Only Daughter is an unmissable story, I hope that this interview has picked the curiosity of many readers.
Keep up with Anna online at:
About the book:
Title: Only Daughter
Author: Anna Snoekstra
Published: September 22nd 2016 by HQ Stories
Blurb: In this chilling psychological thriller, one woman's dark past becomes another's deadly future.
In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.
She'd been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast-food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen—blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched—though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.
Eleven years later she is replaced.
A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec.
Soon the imposter is living Bec's life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends' names. Playing with her twin brothers.